Hikers in the Berkeley Hills have stumbled on another round of tree removals by UC Berkeley. Once again, these tree removals violate theoretical commitments UC Berkeley made in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the FEMA projects in the East Bay Hills. Our readers have alerted FEMA to this new violation of policies UC Berkeley has claimed in the EIS they are following. The EIS is apparently a big pile of paper with no relationship to what is actually happening on the ground.
January 26, 2015
Region IX Environmental Officer
Federal Emergency Management Agency
RE: East Bay Hills – Environmental Impact Statement – FEMA – RIX
Dear Mr. Amaglio,
Once again we must alert you to a new round of tree removals by UC Berkeley on their property. Within the past two weeks or so, UC Berkeley has removed about 25 trees on their property south of Dwight Way at the intersection of Sports Lane.
Since this property is not in the project area for the proposed FEMA grants, you might wonder how it is relevant to FEMA’s consideration of those grants. There are several reasons why this latest round of tree removals is relevant to FEMA’s impending decision:
• The stumps of the trees that were removed have been dribbled with green dye, indicating they were sprayed with herbicide to prevent them from resprouting. However, no herbicide application notices were posted at the site as required by law and as described in the Final Environment Impact Statement for the FEMA grants: “In addition to the herbicide application measures, the subapplicants would follow procedures for public notification and education, including posting the timing, location, and appropriate amounts and types of pesticides or other chemicals to be applied at least 24 hours in advance.” (EIS, page 5.10-14)
• The Final EIS also states that “in general” most tree removals will be done “from August to November to avoid the wet season and the bird nesting and fledging season.” (EIS page 3-34) This commitment made by UC Berkeley in the EIS has been violated by this round of tree removals in January after heavy rains.
• In addition to the approximately 25 trees that were recently destroyed, we counted over 100 stumps that have been destroyed in this area in the past. This area is not described in the Cumulative Impact Section (EIS 6.0) of the EIS. In other words, cumulative impact of the proposed FEMA projects is underestimated by the EIS.
Once again, UC Berkeley has demonstrated that they are not following the policies and practices that are described by the EIS and the cumulative impact of those projects has not been accurately described by the EIS.
We ask that this information be made available to those who are considering the Decision of Record of the FEMA grants in the East Bay Hills.
Cc: Sal Genito, Associate Director, Grounds, Custodial, Environmental Services, UCB
Robert Newell, Acting Assistant Vice Chancellor, Physical Plant, UCB